The British press are in full hysteria propaganda mode when it comes to demonising our new greatest threat on planet earth; not climate change, a global pandemic, international terrorism, or America’s new foe in the South China Sea – but Russia.
The Telegraph 31/12/16: “Systemic, relentless, predatory’ Russian cyber threat to US power grid exposed as malware found on major electricity company computer.”
The Independent 13/12/16: “Highly probable Russian interfered with Brexit referendum.”
The Express 15/01/17: “Russians forcing RAF to abort missions in Syria by ‘hacking into’ their systems”
The Guardian 14/01/17: “Senior British politicians ‘targeted by Kremlin’ for smear campaigns”
In all of these newspaper reports, and there are plenty more of them, not a single scrap of actual evidence other than hearsay is published. In the case of the Express story, it’s allegations are backed up with the statement “It is entirely feasible that Russia has targeted Tornadoes and Typhoons in this way,” said air defence expert Justin Bronk, of the Royal United Services Institute think-tank.” This is not evidence.
In the case of the Telegraph, this fairy-tail has been 100% debunked as pure propaganda and the original report from the Washington Post ended with a full-on apology by its editor. The Telegraph has printed no such amendment or apology for its totally fictitious article.
The Guardian’s headline is pure misinformation as it’s sole point of evidence is an MP (Chris Bryant), explaining that incumbent Foreign Office ministers could not speak out on the (Russian hacking) issue because of security connotations, and said: “Any minister who goes into the Foreign Office and has responsibility for Russia, they [Moscow] will be, in any shape or form, trying to put together information about them.” As if to strengthen the ‘evidence’, Bryant says he is “absolutely certain that Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Alan Duncan who has the Russia brief, and [Brexit secretary] David Davis will have been absolutely looked at.” This is not evidence.
The funny thing is this; the story may be true and quite probably is, but so what.
In October 2015, Britain’s own spy agency confirmed it was spying on Britain’s MP’s and at the time was given court immunity when challenged. It determined that MPs’ communications were not protected from surveillance by intelligence agencies. This case came about because Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Baroness Jenny Jones and former MP George Galloway, [observed] that revelations from Edward Snowden, showed MPs’ communications were being spied on by GCHQ despite laws protecting them.
Around the same time we learn that a well known paedophile ran a lodge set up by GCHQ for its spies to monitor important political ‘targets’ ie our own MP’s and other public figures.
Back in 1983 Margaret Thatcher used Britain’s latest and most advanced surveillance system named ‘Echelon’ (Read: ECHELON – The Start of Britain’s Modern Day Spying Operations) to Spy on Government Ministers’. It was an American design and the first major state surveillance system using satellite and IT systems to spy worldwide. Indeed Echelon was originally created in the 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies throughout the Cold War by Britain and America. All of this data being shared with America, a foreign government.
America’s NSA monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders in another Snowden leak three years ago. Germany’s Spiegel reported in 2014 that “Documents show Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency has targeted European, German and Israeli politicians for surveillance.” So distrustful of the British that Chancellor Merkel announced a counter-espionage offensive designed to curb mass surveillance conducted by the US NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ. Today it is reported by IntelNews that the “discord between British and German intelligence services, which began at the same time in 2014, allegedly persists and now constitutes the “biggest rift between the secret services” of the two countries “since World War II”.
Just six months ago we found out that “GCHQ and NSA routinely spy on UK politicians’ e-mails” that included privileged correspondence between parliamentarians and their constituents and before that, internal MI5, MI6 and GCHQ documents reveal routine interception of legally privileged communications. The information obtained was exploited unlawfully to be used by the agencies in the fighting of court cases in which they themselves were involved.
Amazingly, we recently find out just last week that Israeli embassy staff, quite likely Mossad operatives – “are working with senior political activists and politicians in the Conservative and Labour parties to subvert their own parties from within, and skew British foreign policy so that it benefits Israeli, rather than British interests.” And yet, there has been little comment in the British press about foreign infiltration of government minsters by Israel.
If Russia were not spying on our MP’s, they would be the only ones not at it. No-one trusts anyone. Spying is old news and fully expected. We are ALL being spied on nowadays.
The British press are complicit in their reckless rhetoric designed to instill fear into the population with dangerous propaganda that could easily lead to tensions becoming so dangerous that a real ‘hot war’ starts. Whilst America is shielded by continental Europe and the Atlantic ocean, Britain could be used as a pawn to be sacrificed on the international chess-game of winner-takes-all. We have no ‘special-relationship’, there never has been one, and an irresponsible press being a mouthpiece that ramps up the stress between the US/NATO and Russia is absolutely against the interests and national security of Britain.
As Laurence Krauss’s (chair of the board of sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is on the board of the Federation of American Scientists) article last October alarmingly points out – “Trump has said he would consider using nuclear weapons against ISIS and suggested that it would be good for the world if Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia acquired them.” Trump could be one seriously dangerous individual for world peace – who knows!
So much for Trump but as Krauss goes on to say that “In general, during the Obama presidency, we have only deepened our dangerous embrace of nuclear weapons. At the moment, around a thousand nuclear weapons are still on a hair-trigger alert; as they were during the Cold War, they are ready to be launched in minutes in response to a warning of imminent attack.”
Who in their right mind would support this lunacy?
A Trident missile fired last year from a Royal Navy nuclear submarine off the Florida coast malfunctioned and headed to the mainland during a routine test, but Whitehall ordered a news blackout to avoid “severe panic,” the Sunday Times reported.
The Trident ballistic missile was set to be tested for the first time in four years by the HMS Vengeance last June off the Florida coast, according to the Sunday Times.
Vengeance, the fourth and final Vanguard-class nuclear-capable submarine of the Royal Navy, had undergone a refit in Devonport dockyard before heading out for a firing test to verify if the ship and her crew were ready for active service.
In June last year, the submarine docked at Port Canaveral in Florida, the US base employed by the Royal Navy for final checks, before launching an unarmed Trident missile into the so-called “Eastern firing range” off the west coast of Africa.
There have only been five firing tests by UK Vanguard-class submarines in the 21st century, the Sunday Times wrote, and the launches are usually big occasions for the Royal Navy, as the missiles cost 17 million pounds ($21 million) apiece.
No news reports followed the test, however, and no usual “successful test flight” announcement was made at that time.
A navy source told the newspaper that “something went wrong” after the Trident was fired from the submerged submarine. Details of the failure were not officially disclosed, but the source believes the missile might have veered off in the wrong direction toward the American mainland instead of heading across the Atlantic.
“There was severe panic that this test launch was not successful. Senior figures in military and government were keen that the information was not made public,” the source said. A malfunction of the ballistic missile – deemed the backbone of British strategic deterrent – could lead to terrifying casualties. It could also raise questions about the reliability of the Royal Navy’s nuclear arsenals.
“Ultimately, Downing Street decided to cover up the failed test,” the source added. “If the information was made public, they knew how damaging it would be to the credibility of our nuclear deterrent. The upcoming Trident vote made it all the more sensitive.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May avoided any mention of the failed test to ensure that MPs approve spending of 40 billion pounds on new Trident submarines, in her first major speech before last July. Notably, more than 100 MPs voted against the proposal, including members of Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Labour Party, who argued that the money spent on nuclear arms could have been put to better use.
On Sunday, talking to the BBC, May again refused to say whether she knew about the reported failure or not. She said she had “absolute confidence” in the country’s nuclear deterrence system, but avoided giving a direct reply when asked to comment on The Times report.
The British government has not officially confirmed the newspaper’s report on the misfire, but The Times quoted the ministry of defense as saying that Vengeance “conducted a routine unarmed Trident missile test launch,” and that the submarine and her crew “were successfully tested and certified.” It declined to elaborate on the causes of the malfunction “for obvious national security reasons.”
Lockheed Martin, the Trident manufacturer, did not comment on the issue either.
In 2015, William McNeilly, a former Navy weapons engineer who allegedly served aboard the HMS Victorious, claimed that a number of security lapses and technical issues with the Trident-armed submarines exposed the UK nuclear deterrent to potential terrorist attacks.
According to open sources, Vanguard-class submarines carry 200 nuclear warheads as well as so-called ‘letters of last resort’ of the British prime minister that are to be used in the event of a national disaster or an incapacitating nuclear strike. Stored inside safes in the control room of each submarine, the letters are believed to include the orders: “Put yourself under the command of the US, if it is still there”; “Go to Australia”; “Retaliate”; or “Use your own judgment,” according to the Guardian.
Labour MP Kevan Jones, who is calling for an inquiry into the report with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, is expected to be called to the House of Commons.
“The UK’s independent nuclear deterrent is a vital cornerstone for the nation’s defence,” Kevan said.
“If there are problems, they should not have been covered up in this ham-fisted way. Ministers should come clean if there are problems and there should be an urgent inquiry into what happened.
Following rhetoric regarding Europe’s refugee crisis, one might assume the refugees, through no fault of Europe’s governments, suddenly began appearing by the thousands at Europe’s borders. However, this simply is not true.
Before the 2011 wave of US-European engineered uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) transformed into Western military interventions, geopolitical analysts warned that overthrowing the governments in nations like Libya and Syria, and Western interventions in nations like Mali and the Ivory Coast, would lead to predicable regional chaos that would manifest itself in both expanding terrorism across the European and MENA region, as well as a flood of refugees from destabilized, war-racked nations.
Libya in particular, was singled out as a nation, if destabilized, that would transform into a springboard for refugees not only fleeing chaos in Libya itself, but fleeing a variety of socioeconomic and military threats across the continent. Libya has served for decades as a safe haven for African refugees due to its relative stability and economic prosperity as well as the Libyan government’s policy of accepting and integrating African refugees within the Libyan population.
Because of NATO’s 2011 military intervention and the disintegration of Libya as a functioning nation state, refugees who would have otherwise settled in Libya are now left with no choice but to continue onward to Europe.
For France in particular, its politics have gravitated around what is essentially a false debate between those welcoming refugees and those opposed to their presence.
Absent from this false debate is any talk of French culpability for its military operations abroad which, along with the actions of the US and other NATO members, directly resulted in the current European refugee crisis.
France claims that its presence across Africa aims at fighting Al Qaeda. According to RAND Corporation commentary titled, “Mali’s Persistent Jihadist Problem,” it’s reported that:
Four years ago, French forces intervened in Mali, successfully averting an al Qaeda-backed thrust toward the capital of Bamako. The French operation went a long way toward reducing the threat that multiple jihadist groups posed to this West Africa nation. The situation in Mali today remains tenuous, however, and the last 18 months have seen a gradual erosion of France’s impressive, initial gains.
And of course, a French military presence in Mali will do nothing to stem Al Qaeda’s activities if the source of Al Qaeda’s weapons and financial support is not addressed. In order to do this, France and its American and European allies would need to isolate and impose serious sanctions on Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two nations which exist as the premier state sponsors of not only Al Qaeda, but a myriad of terrorist organizations sowing chaos worldwide.
Paradoxically, instead of seeking such sanctions, the French government instead sells the Saudi and Qatari governments billions of dollars worth of weaponry, proudly filling in any temporary gaps in the flow of weapons from the West as each nation attempts to posture as “concerned” about Saudi and Qatari human rights abuses and war crimes (and perhaps even state sponsorship of terrorism) only to gradually return to pre-sanction levels after public attention wanes.
The National Interest in an article titled, “France: Saudi Arabia’s New Arms Dealer,” would note:
France has waged a robust diplomatic engagement with Saudi Arabia for years. In June, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited France to sign deals worth $12 billion, which included $500 million for 23 Airbus H145 helicopters. Saudi and French officials also agreed to pursue feasibility studies to build two nuclear reactors in the kingdom. The remaining money will involve direct investment negotiated between Saudi and French officials.
The article would also note that Saudi Arabia’s junior partner in the state sponsorship of global terror, Qatar, would also benefit from French weapon deals:
Hollande’s address was delivered one day after he was in Doha, where he signed a $7 billion deal that included the sale of 24 French Rafale fighter jets to Qatar, along with the training of Qatari intelligence officers.
In order to truly fight terrorism, a nation must deal with it at its very source. Since France is not only ignoring the source of Al Qaeda’s military, financial and political strength, but is regularly bolstering it with billions in weapons deals, it is safe to say that whatever reason France is involved across MENA, it is not to “defeat” Al Qaeda.
The refugee crisis that has resulted from the chaos that both Western forces and terrorists funded and armed by the West’s closest regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is a crisis that is entirely self-inflicted. The rhetoric surrounding the crisis, on both sides, ignoring this fundamental reality, exposes the manufactured and manipulative nature of French government and opposition agendas.
The chaos across MENA is so significant, and terrorism so deeply rooted in both Western and their Arab allies’ geopolitical equations that even a complete reversal of this destructive policy will leave years if not decades of social unrest in the wake of the current refugee crisis.
But for anyone genuinely committed to solving this ongoing crisis, they must start with the US, European, and Gulf monarchies’ culpability, and resist blaming the refugees or those manipulated into reacting negatively to them. While abuses carried out by refugees or locals are equally intolerable, those responsible for the conflicts and for manipulating both sides of this crisis are equally to blame.
Until that blame is properly and proportionately placed, and the root of the crisis addressed, it will only linger and cause further damage to regional and global security.
There is more to the CIA’s online release of unclassified documents than meets the eye, security expert Dmitry Efimov told Sputnik.
On Wednesday the CIA published roughly 930,000 documents online, totaling more than 1 million pages, which had previously only been accessible on computers at the National Archives in Maryland.The database, which is searchable via the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST), contains information from the 1940s to the 1990s, including reports from the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The CIA had planned to publish the documents at the end of 2017, but finished the work ahead of schedule. The agency began the project following a Freedom of Information Act injunction launched in 2014 by Muckrock, a non-profit news organization.
“Access to this historically significant collection is no longer limited by geography. The American public can access these documents from the comfort of their homes,” Joseph Lambert, CIA Director of Information Management, said.
However, not everybody is convinced that the documents in the CREST database are genuine. Security expert Dmitry Efimov, a member of Moscow Council’s Advisory Committee on Security, told Radio Sputnik that he suspects many of the files are fakes.
“I think this was published on the personal orders of CIA Director Brennan, a famous neocon who is leaving along with Obama and who is probably using this opportunity to create a new stream of misinformation,” Efimov said.
“Particularly since there is no such thing as the whole truth, there is the truth which is present in the CIA’s real documents, which of course exist, but I think that a lot of work has been done to falsify a huge number of documents in this batch and change the relationship to the Vietnam War, for example.”
Commenting on the release, CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak insisted that the documents, which appear redacted, are genuine and were not released on a selective basis.
“None of this is cherry-picked,” Horniak said.
“It’s the full history. It’s good and bads.”
However, Efimov claims that the release is an attempt by the CIA to rewrite history in order to assist its political ambitions.
“The main objective of the US is the spread of liberal American democracy around the world despite the objections of the receiving country. It is in this respect that history will change, there will be new documents which don’t have sources. But the presence of a large number of hidden sources in certain documents on a specific topic says that here (in the declassified CIA documents) someone has edited the past very well.”
Among CREST’s revelations is that the CIA carried out research on topics like UFO’s, telepathy and psychic phenomena. For example, the Stargate Project, which ran from 1978 to 1995 and was intended to investigate psychic phenomena, even interviewed Israeli celebrity psychic Uri Geller in the 1980s to see if his supposed paranormal abilities could be of use in military and domestic intelligence applications.This kind of disclosure is a way to distract attention from political topics, Efimov said.
“Disclosure of the ‘Stargate’ CIA program is a wonderful theme, a great way to divert the consciousness of American society away from real problems. Just imagine how you can use that topic on CNN, in order to bring it to the attention of all American housewives. I don’t exclude the possibility that some more fine papers will appear, some kind of reports about something, which predicted something, we will get the names of some new American prophets. That is, the construction of a mythical American history that will distract the attention of Americans,” Efimov said.
Most economists are good with numbers. It is, after all, a prerequisite skill for the profession. Thus, it’s somewhat ironic that a publication called The Economist would be so inept with figures.
However, it’s likely the numerical errors in their latest RT demolition piece are more the result of a determination to prove a desired point rather than it being down to an actual mathematical deficiency amongst staff.
To bring you up to speed, just a few days ago, a reporter from the Economist reached out to the RT press office with a few questions. This of course is very much in line with basic journalistic practices of fact-checking and due diligence. Answers were readily provided, in good faith.
However, of all the – independently verifiable – facts and figures provided by RT to the journalist, not a single one, nor even a fragment of a comment, was actually included in the article that appeared in today’s issue of the magazine.
Instead, the Economist writes that “RT has a clever way with numbers. Its ““audience” of 550m refers to the number of people who can access its channel, not those who actually watch it. RT has never released the latter figure…”
First of all, can we please pause and reflect for a minute on the sheer inanity of passing off a 5-year-old report as something reflecting the current state of affairs, including audience? Particularly in the world of media, where revolutionary changes take place in a much shorter time span.
Anyhow, while we’d love to take credit for our cunning practices in this regard, we don’t need to, because we have facts on our side. And the fact is, very clearly stated on RT’s “About” page, in plain English, the network’s TV channels are “available to 700 million people.”“AVAILABLE.” It’s been up there for years.
Also, contrary to the Economist’s claim, RT has repeatedly provided exact figures for its actual TV audience. According to a November 2015 report from Ipsos – a leading audience research firm – which conducted a survey of TV news consumption in 38 countries, 70 million people watch RT TV channels every week.
Of that number, 36 million people watch RT weekly in 10 European countries, and is among the top 5 pan-regional news channels. RT is also among the top-5 most watched international TV news channels in the US, with a viewership of 8 million per week. These aren’t numbers that RT dreamed up, but the results of an independent study by a top-3 global market research company. Contact information for verification is also readily available.
As a matter of fact, RT provided this exact data to the Economist ! Not that the Economist would bother admitting this, because they wouldn’t want the facts to get in a way of their RT story. It’s much easier to lie about RT “never releasing the latter figure.”
Perhaps they’re really are ignorant about the world of audience research and ratings, because they follow up the aforementioned fake with the following: “a 2015 survey of the top 94 cable channels in America by Nielsen, a research firm, found that RT did not even make it into the rankings.” Here’s Nielsen 101: you have to pay to play. Or rather, you have to pay to be measured and included in the Nielsen rankings. RT chooses not to. So using the above statement to make a point about RT’s US audience makes as much sense as walking into a vegetarian shop, not finding any beefsteaks, and concluding that all the cows have gone extinct.
What about RT’s success on YouTube? Well, the Economist says not to worry about RT’s 4+ BILLION views (#1 among TV news networks) on YouTube because on the platform, RT “inflates its viewership with YouTube disaster videos.”
If the Economist had been paying attention to the Washington Post this past week, they might have noted that things aren’t quite as they wish them to be: for example, RT’s YouTube video of Trump’s victory speech received 3.7 million views, it’s live election coverage attracted 1.3 million views in on RT and RT America, and Putin’s statement on Trump’s victory got 2.4 million. And this is just a sliver of RT’s political video hits.
Since the Economist has a thing for ‘numbers’, let’s draw a small comparison. Trump’s victory speech on CNN’s YouTube Channel received about 495,000 views, BBC’s – a mere 33,500, and CBC News’ –about 1.3 million. So maybe the Economist can tell us if 3.7 million is a larger number?
What about RT’s website, what kind of scheme would the Economist try to deploy to minimize RT success there? Here, the magazine simply ignores the publicly available (and provided in an email to the publication) stats about RT’s website visits, which, at 119 million monthly (SimilarWeb, December 2016) places it well ahead of the likes of Al Jazeera, DW, Euronews, France24 and BBG (VOA + RFE/RL and other platforms).
Overall, the Economist article gives the impression that its journalists didn’t bother to read the answers to their own questions, or sacrificed the facts in a maniacal commitment to its anti-RT diatribe. Facts really can be inconvenient that way.
Influence is a rather subjective concept that can be difficult to measure. Schizophrenic coverage of Russia, which has been plaguing the mainstream media for the last year, tries to position RT simultaneously as weak and as a threat to all humanity. Media-political establishments urge their stakeholders and audiences to not overestimate RT’s influence (hello, Economist ), while emphasizing the need to spend ever more millions to counter it.
The Economist is of course entitled to its own opinion about RT’s influence. But when that opinion is built entirely around the size of RT’s audience, the Economist isn’t entitled to its own facts.
From the CIA document dump earlier this week: Online Now! 12 Million Pages of Declassifed CIA Documents I read all four documents Ynet is claiming demonstrate some imminent danger against Israel.
What is actually written there leaves one with the impression that Israel desired and planned for the war- despite the US asking them, more than once, not to preemptively strike other nations. And clearly reporting that Israel had begun to mobilize troops in advance of their desired war.
Considering all the recent Israeli aggression against Syria present day. The invasion of Lebanon. I find it impossible to believe that Israel was anything but the aggressor in this instance.
Despite the spin put on this news by Ynet.
The very first document Ynet points to:
There is NO information to confirm Israeli reports of an imminent attack-
“We have no information that would confirm the Israeli reports of an imminent attack”
In fact there is proof of a partial mobilization of Israeli Defense forces already being underway
“He said that a partial mobilization of the Israeli Defense Force is underway”
The second document used by Ynet, again fails to demonstrate an attack is imminent against Israel- It may demonstrate that there was going to be an attack against Syria? If we should assume citizens of the Soviet Union were actually being evacuated? Which is what this document does. “probably”?
The third document doesn’t confirm imminent attack either?
The US asks Israel to exercise restraint
The US asks Israel to take no preemptive action
The US opposes preemptive action on the part of Israel
The fourth document tells us only about Israel’s intelligence.
“I was notified that the Israeli’s have what they consider to be hard information…”
“Urgently communicating with the Israelis, Warning them against any pre emptive attack”
And Egypt expected an Israeli provocation..
Ynet : The morning of the coordinated attack on Israel, US assessments flipped from presuming war was not on the horizon to frantic attempts to prevent Syria and Turkey from attacking the Jewish state, which was warned off any preemptive strike.
Read the documents and decide for yourself... In all four documents it is clear Israel has prepared for an aggressive move and the US is repeatedly calling for restraint. Warning Israel not to move preemptively. Egypt expecting an Israeli provocation..
Britain’s divisive Brexit politics are playing out through the new US presidency of Donald Trump. It seems that a faction within the British political establishment which is opposed to Britain leaving the European Union has joined forces with American intelligence counterparts to hamper Trump’s new administration.
By hampering Trump, the pro-EU British faction would in turn achieve a blow against a possible bilateral trade deal emerging between the US and Britain. Such a bilateral trade deal is vital for post-Brexit Britain to survive outside of the EU. If emerging US-British trade relations were sabotaged by disenfranchising President Trump, then Britain would necessarily have to turn back to rejoining the European Union, which is precisely what a powerful British faction desires.
What unites the anti-Trump forces on both sides of the Atlantic is that they share an atlanticist, pro-NATO worldview, which underpins American hegemony over Europe and Anglo-American-dominated global finance. This atlanticist perspective is vehemently anti-Russian because an independent Russia under President Vladimir Putin is seen as an impediment to the US-led global order of Anglo-American dominance.
The atlanticists in the US and Britain are represented in part by the upper echelons of the intelligence-military apparatus, embodied by the American Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s Military Intelligence (Section) 6 (MI6).
Notably, incoming US President Donald Trump has expressed indifference towards NATO. This week he repeated comments in which he called the US-led military alliance «obsolete». Trump’s views are no doubt a cause of grave consternation among US-British atlanticists.
It is now emerging that British state intelligence services are involved much more deeply in the dirty tricks operation to smear Trump than might have been appreciated heretofore. The British involvement tends to validate the above atlanticist analysis.
The dirty tricks operation overseen by US intelligence agencies and willing news media outlets appears to be aimed at undermining Trump and, perhaps, even leading to his impeachment.
The former British MI6 agent, named as Christopher Steele, who authored the latest sexual allegations against Trump, was initially reported as working independently for US political parties. However, it now seems that Steele was not acting as an independent consultant to Trump’s political opponents during the US election, as media reports tended to indicate.
Britain’s Independent newspaper has lately reported that Steele’s so-called «Russian dossier» – which claimed that Trump was being blackmailed by the Kremlin over sex orgy tapes – was tacitly given official British endorsement.
That endorsement came in two ways. First, according to the Independent, former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Woods, reportedly gave assurances to US Senator John McCain that the dossier’s allegations of Russian blackmail against Trump were credible. Woods met with McCain at a security conference in Canada back in November. McCain then passed the allegations on to the American FBI – so «alarmed» was he by the British diplomat’s briefing.
The second way that Britain has endorsed the Russian dossier is the newly appointed head of MI6, Sir Alex Younger, is reported to have used the material produced by his former colleague, Christopher Steele, in preparing his first speech as head of the British intelligence service given in December at the agency’s headquarters in London. That amounts to an imprimatur from MI6 on the Russian dossier.
Thus, in two important signals from senior official British sources, the Russian dossier on Trump was elevated to a serious intelligence document, rather than being seen as cheap gossip.
Excerpts from the document published by US media last week make sensational claims about Trump engaging in orgies with prostitutes in the presidential suite of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel while attending a Miss World contest in 2014. It is claimed that Russian secret services captured the alleged lewd activity on tape and will now be able to leverage this «kompromat» in order to blackmail Trump who becomes inaugurated this week as the 45th president of the United States.
Several informed analysts have dismissed the Russian dossier as an amateurish fake, pointing out its vague hearsay, factual errors and questionable format not typical of standard intelligence work. Also, both Donald Trump and the Kremlin have categorically rejected the claims as far-fetched nonsense.
While most US media did not publish the salacious details of Trump’s alleged trysts, and while they offered riders that the information was «not confirmed» and «unverifiable», nevertheless the gamut of news outlets gave wide coverage to the story which in turn directed public attention to internet versions of the «sensational» claims. So the US mainstream media certainly lent critical amplification, which gave the story a stamp of credibility.
US intelligence agencies, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA chief John Brennan, appended the two-page Russian dossier in their separate briefings to outgoing President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump last week. Those briefings were said to mainly focus on US intelligence claims that Russian state-sponsored hackers had carried out cyber attacks to influence the US election last November.
Therefore, US intelligence, their British counterparts and the mass media all played a concerted role to elevate low-grade gossip against Trump into a seemingly credible scandal.
Trump has been waging a war of words with the US intelligence agencies, snubbing them by cutting back on presidential briefings and rubbishing their claims of Russian hacking as «ridiculous». Recently, Trump appeared to shift towards accepting the US intel assessment that Russia had carried out cyber attacks. But he balked at any suggestion that the alleged hacking was a factor in why he won the election against Hillary Clinton.
At a news conference before the weekend, Trump turned up the heat on the US intelligence agencies by blaming them for leaking to the media their briefing to him on the notorious Russian dossier. Trump compared their tactics to that of «Nazi Germany». CIA chief John Brennan couldn’t contain his anger and told media that such a comparison was «outrageous».
Trump may have savaged the Russian blackmail allegations as «fake news». But there are indications that US and British intelligence – and their reliable media mouthpieces – are not giving up on their dirty tricks operation, which has all the hallmarks of a vendetta.
Pointedly, James Clapper, the outgoing US Director of National Intelligence, has said that the secret services have not arrived at a judgment as to whether the Russian blackmail claims are substantive or not. British state-owned BBC has also reported that CIA sources believe that Russian agents have multiple copies of «tapes of a sexual nature» allegedly involving Trump in separate orgies with prostitutes in Moscow and St Petersburg.
In other words this scandal, regardless of veracity, could run and run and run, with the intended effect of undermining Trump and crimping his policies, especially those aimed at normalizing US-Russia relations, as he has vowed to do. If enough scandal is generated, the allegations against Trump being a sexually depraved president compromised by Russian agents – a declared foreign enemy of the US – might even result in his impeachment from the White House on the grounds of treason.
Both the American and British intelligence services appear to be working together, facilitated by aligned news media, to bolster flimsy claims against Trump into allegations of apparent substance. The shadowy «deep state» organs in the US and Britain are doing this because they share a common atlanticist ideology which views Anglo-American dominance over the European Union as the basis for world order. Crucial to this architecture is NATO holding sway over Europe, which in turn relies on demonizing Russia as a «threat to European security».
Clamping down on Trump, either through impeachment or at least corrosive media smears, would serve to further the atlanticist agenda.
For a section of British power – UK-based global corporations and London finance – the prospect of a Brexit from the EU is deeply opposed. The Financial Times list of top UK-based companies were predominantly against leaving the EU ahead of last year’s referendum. Combined with the strategic atlanticist ideology of the military-intelligence apparatus there is a potent British desire to scupper the Trump presidency.
But, as it happens, the American and British picture is complicated by the fact that the British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is very much dependent on cooperation and goodwill from the Trump administration in order for post-Brexit Britain to survive in the world economy outside the EU.
The British government is committed to leaving the EU as determined by the popular referendum last June. To be fair to May’s government, it is deferring to the popular will on this issue. Premier May is even talking about a «hard Brexit» whereby, Britain does not have future access to the European single market. Fervent communications between Downing Street and the Trump transition team show that the British government views new bilateral trade deals with the US as vital for the future of Britain’s economy. And Trump has reciprocated this week by saying that Britain will be given top priority in the signing of new trade deals.
In this way, the British establishment’s divisions over Brexit – some for, some against – are a fortunate break for Trump. Because that will limit how much the British intelligence services can engage in dirty tricks against the president in league with their American counterparts. In short, the atlanticist desire to thwart Trump has lost its power to act malevolently in the aftermath of Britain’s Brexit.
That might also be another reason why Donald Trump has given such a welcoming view on the Brexit – as «a great thing». Perhaps, he knows that it strengthens his political position against deep state opponents who otherwise in a different era might have been strong enough to oust him.
Trump and Brexit potentially mean that the atlanticist sway over Europe is fading. And that’s good news for Russia.
I wrote a post about the killing of Musa Abu Qilyan in which I presented both the claim of the Border Police that he killed a policeman in a deliberate terror attack; and also presented video which, as I wrote, failed to support the police claims (though it didn’t refute them). Now, Ronnie Barkan has provided a close video analysis of two separate versions of the video, one distributed by the police and another slightly longer one which surfaced on Facebook. Ronnie shows (be patient in watching the various iterations of the video clips he presents) incontrovertibly that the Police video was subtly and slightly edited, both removing the first shot a Border Policeman fired at the car, and also speeding up the video to make the vehicle appear to be going faster than it was. You may read an alternate version, which essentially agrees with Ronnie’s work, at 972.
What does all this mean? First, that when Abu Alqilyan’s vehicle drove along the road it presented no threat whatsoever to the police personnel. It was driving slowly and deliberately. As it proceeds, a police officer runs toward it firing. Three or four shots are fired. The first shot is fired while the car is driving quite slowly and seemingly under the driver’s control. Only after those shots are fired does the vehicle speed up, lose control and hit another police officer standing near the road. Clearly, the driver had been fatally struck by these bullets before he killed the officer.
In other words, the police acted recklessly and with total disregard even for their own safety. They essentially murdered the Bedouin driver when he posed no threat. After he was incapacitated, his vehicle struck and killed the other officer. He was not intending to harm anyone. Ergo, he was not a terrorist. It’s certainly possible he was a supporter of the Islamic Movement, but certainly not of ISIS as Israeli Jewish politicians have claimed. Further, being an Islamist is not the same as being a terrorist.
The only possibility I can think of to support the police version is perhaps an officer had tried to stop him at some point before the drone footage began. He may have seemed to defy an order to stop and proceeded on his path, which led the officer to fire. But you can be sure that if such a thing happened, the drone footage authenticating it would’ve been released.
Further, how can a major police action at which physical altercations and protest is expected not secure the perimeter of vehicle and pedestrian traffic? How could the police have allowed any vehicles to approach them as this man did? Why weren’t there roadblocks preventing access? To me, this appears to be a botched Border Police operation for which they have only themselves to blame.
Finally, this is yet another example of fraud and mendacity on the part of the Israel’s most vicious, brutal and violent police authorities. Not only are Border Police the most racist, they are also the mostly likely to lie and cover up their errors, as they have here. It’s a shameful episode which should be met with skepticism and derision by the Israeli media and the Israeli public. However, Israeli Jews are all too quick to swallow the lies fed to them by authorities. Once they have drunk the Koolaid, counter-evidence like this threatens their equanimity and is usually ignored or dismissed.
In my earlier post I debated the meaning of “terrorism” in the Israeli context and argued that dispossessing the Bedouin as Israel is doing, along with deadly violence like this constitutes state terror. This new evidence confirms there was no terror on the part of the Bedouin at all. The only terror was that of the forces of the State. If I were Israeli, I would hang my head in shame.
On Thursday, Moscow slipped in the formal invitation to Washington to attend the intra-Syria talks in Astana on coming Monday (January 23). It waited till the last ‘working day’ of the Barack Obama administration. A snub to the outgoing administration? But it could as well have been a pre-emptive measure to guard against any last-minute temper tantrum by the outgoing US administration.
No doubt, it is a thoughtful Russian move to engage the incoming Donald Trump administration on its very first day in the White House. Trump will now take the call. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:
- We hope the new US administration will accept this invitation and will be represented at this meeting at any expert level it considers appropriate. This could be the first official contact during which we will be able to discuss a more effective way to fight terrorism in Syria… Russia and the United States created and are co-chairing the International Syria Support Group… It has two task forces – a Humanitarian Task Force and a Ceasefire Task Force. There is a good chance we can invigorate these mechanisms.
Lavrov’s optimism must be based on considered assessment regarding Trump’s disposition to work with President Vladimir Putin in the fight against terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.
A novel feature of the Astana talks is that the field commanders of the Syrian opposition groups have been brought to the forefront as the Syrian government’s interlocutors. Previously, politicians living in exile who were proxies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar used to represent these groups. They were vulnerable to outside manipulation. Evidently, Turkish and Russian intelligence acted together, pooling resources, to wean the field commanders away from the orbit of Saudi and Qatari influence and entice them to agree to a ceasefire and get them to jettison their previous aversion to dealing with the Syrian government.
Of course, the field commanders too have little room to maneuver after the capture of Aleppo by the government forces. Besides, Trump’s win effectively shuts the door on any future US support for these rebel groups. There is bitterness among the residual rebel groups who remain within the Saudi orbit, but losers cannot be choosers. A commentary by Fox News brings this out.
In the final analysis, Moscow has shown almost seamless patience to get as many rebel groups as possible on board – with the exception of Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front. No ‘pre-conditions’ have been set except that the participants in the Astana talks must agree on ceasefire. What we see here is a total marginalization of regional states who played a negative role aimed at fragmenting Syria – principally, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.
Moscow would feel gratified that Turkey is using its clout with the rebel groups to persuade them to attend the Astana talks. In a dramatic turnaround, Russian jets are now providing air support for the Turkish ground operations in northern Syria, testifying to the phenomenal shift in the regional alignments over Syria. (Associated Press )
The bottom line is that the departure of the Obama administration has dramatically improved the prospects for a Syrian peace process taking off, finally. Moscow is pinning hopes that there will be a sea change in the US policies in Syria w.e.f January 20. Again, to quote Lavrov:
- When he (Trump) says that his key foreign policy priority will be the fight against terrorism, we are happy to welcome this intention. This is exactly what our American partners lacked before him. On paper, they (Obama administration) seemed to be cooperating with us…, but in fact, they were deceiving us… According to a recent leak about John Kerry’s meeting with Syrian opposition forces several years ago, the United States regarded ISIS as a suitable force for weakening Bashar al-Assad… What Donald Trump and his team are saying now shows that they have a different approach and will not apply double standards in the fight against terrorism in order to achieve unrelated goals.
The talks in Astana are expected to be substantial. Russia and Turkey hope to involve the field commanders in the drafting of a new constitution, holding of a referendum and fresh elections. Equally, a consolidation of the country-wide ceasefire can be expected as a tangible outcome of the Astana talks. (TASS )
BETHLEHEM – A Palestinian rights group slammed on Wednesday the killing of a Palestinian teen by Israeli forces earlier this week, calling the case an “extrajudicial killing” and demanding that Israeli authorities open an investigation into the case.
Qusay al-Umour, 17, was killed during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
Video of the moments immediately following al-Umour being shot by Israeli forces has elicited a strong emotional response, as it showed Israeli soldiers roughly carrying the teenager’s limp body by his dangling arms and legs.
Legal NGO BADIL said in a statement on Wednesday that the footage provided “evidence contradicting Israeli accounts and raises concerns about the adherence of the Israeli forces to the central tenets of international law.”
The group quoted Hisham Abu Shaqra, the Palestinian journalist who recorded the video, who said that al-Umour was not a threat to Israeli forces when he was fatally shot — contradicting claims by the Israeli army, which said that the Palestinian youth was the “main instigator” of the clashes that day.
“Qusay was sitting between olive trees, you know how guys are, he was just watching the soldiers… Only a few seconds after (I was) looking at him the Israeli forces shot him three or four times,” Abu Shaqra said.
“The soldier who shot him was not in danger at the time of the shooting, in fact, he was secured and safe,” he added. “First the (Israeli military) jeeps started coming closer and closer [to the youth] and then this specific soldier, the sniper with the Ruger rifle, also started coming closer. I remember he was by the third jeep, then I saw him by the second jeep and he was by the first jeep when he shot Qusay.”
The eyewitness accounts of the incident, coupled with the audiovisual evidence, have led BADIL to conclude that “whether he was throwing stones at the soldiers or not, al-Umour could not have presented a lethal threat to the well-protected Israeli border police from a distance of around 100 meters, and the use of live ammunition against him was therefore unjustified.”
The NGO denounced the “complete lack of consideration for (al-Umour)’s human dignity or his traumatic injuries.”
The group also slammed statements by Israeli police to Ma’an saying that they were “not aware” of any official investigation being carried out by Israeli authorities into al-Umour’s killing.
“Israel continuously fails to investigate such actions or to prosecute members of its forces, which is the natural result of a growing culture of impunity that exists within the Israeli military,” BADIL wrote. “This is why recent Israeli actions towards Palestinian civilians cannot be considered as isolated incidents, but rather as the violent manifestations of a policy of lawlessness in which Israeli forces operate in repeat, and direct contravention of international law absent effective accountability.”
The group therefore “demands that a comprehensive and independent investigation be launched into this killing as a matter of great urgency in order to identify those responsible and to hold them accountable to the full extent of international law.”
Al-Umour is the fourth Palestinian to have been confirmed killed by Israeli forces in 2017. Two more Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the two days since.
Five Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in 2017.
In 2016, Ma’an recorded the deaths of 112 Palestinians, 15 Israelis, and three foreign nationals.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their excessive use of force against Palestinians, including minors, during incidents which could have been handled without the use of deadly violence.
NEGEV – The Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, accused Israeli police of spreading misinformation to Israeli media regarding an alleged vehicle attack Wednesday morning in the Negev, as new video footage emerged further contradicting the Israel police’s version of events.
The Joint List’s statement argued that Israeli police lied in their claim that a Palestinian Bedouin deliberately rammed his car into officers during a raid to demolish homes in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, in order to distract from Israel’s campaign to establish Jewish-only towns “on the ruins of Bedouin villages.”
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that during a raid of the slain Palestinian’s home, police found three copies of a Hebrew-language newspaper from 2015 with the headline: “Isis bomb that took down a plane,” suggesting that the old newspapers were evidence that the man carried out a terror attack.
Rosenfeld added in his statement that Israeli police also detained and were questioning the son “of the terrorist” as part of the investigation.
However, numerous eyewitnesses reported that Israeli police fired at the Palestinian Bedouin, identified as Yaqoub Abu al-Qian, while he was driving, which caused him to spin out of control and crash into Israeli officers, killing one policeman. Family members also firmly denied Abu al-Qian intended to carry out an attack.
Meanwhile, new Israeli police footage published by Israeli daily Haaretz, which they said was most likely from a police a helicopter hovering above the scene, appeared to show police officers shooting at al-Qian as he was driving at a very slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers. It is unclear if the drive sped up intentionally.
Hours later, as Israeli bulldozers began razing the homes to the ground, renewed clashes erupted in the village.
Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, and more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.
The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel.
Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.
The Joint List’s statement described the actions by Israeli authorities as “a terrorist and bloody invasion that brings to mind the scenes of displacement and destruction of Arab villages during the Nakba in 1948.” Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba — “catastrophe” in Arabic.
The statement described how Israeli forces besieged Umm al-Hiran en mass and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets, “terrifying residents who took to the streets to defend their homes.”
Israeli police have denied to Israeli media that rubber-coated steel bullets were used to suppress the clashes, which are used by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. Some news sites said police were in fact firing sponge-tipped bullets, with journalists pointing out they are just as lethal as rubber bullets.
“Police behaved as in a battlefield, and as a result of the clashes, Yaqoub Abu al-Qian fell a martyr, and dozens of others, including MK Ayman Odeh were injured.”
The Joint List said that the “crime in Umm al-Hiran” was in line with the “dangerous escalation” of anti-Palestinian policies within the “extremist” Israeli government.
“The (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government has effectually declared a military war against our people in the 1948 area,” the statement said, referring to lands that were declared part of the Israeli state in 1948.
“The war started with demolitions in Qalansawe, and it is continuing today in Umm al-Hiran.”
The Joint List denied the “false narrative,” in which Israeli police claimed that Abu al-Qian carried out a deliberate car ramming attack, which left an Israeli police officer dead. Israeli police also said they were investigating to see whether or not the slain Bedouin was “influenced” by the so-called Islamic State.
Numerous eyewitness accounts said that al-Qian lost control of his vehicle after he was shot, causing him to crash into Israeli police.
“Israeli police are trying to cover up the crime of displacing and uprooting a whole town and killing an unarmed Arab citizen through an incitement campaign against all Arab citizens, by spreading misinformation that a police officer was killed in a terrorist, ISIS-like attack.”
The statement urged Hebrew-language news outlets to ensure that they work “professionally” and fact-check their information before they publish their news reports.
“When media outlets take the information they receive from Israeli police as facts, they in fact partake in incitement against Arab citizens,” the statement argued.
Human rights organization Adalah also said Wednesday that they strongly objected to Israeli police’s version of events in Umm al-Hiran according to witness accounts.
They group said the police statements, “reflects the Israeli police’s culture of lying,” and referred to recent accusations by Israeli authorities claiming that a string of wildfires were deliberate arson attacks committed by Palestinians, saying that the claims had “not been proven at all. Not one person has been convicted based on these accusations.”
Rights groups have claimed that demolitions in unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.
According to Adalah, families of the Abu al-Qian tribe were initially expelled from their lands in Khirbet Zubaleh in 1948 after they had cultivated the area for generations, and were eventually forced to move to Umm al-Hiran by an Israeli military order.
“Despite this, the state has not legally recognized the village to this day. As a result of the decision to establish the Israeli Jewish town of Hiran over the Bedouin village, the Israel Land Authority (ILA) demanded to expel them again, to the government-planned town of Hura.”
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the Israeli government approved the construction of the new Jewish community of Hiran in November 2013 to be built on the land of Umm al-Hiran. Village residents lost the legal defenses they mounted, including an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, and were unable to prevent the demolition of the village.
“Palestinians from Umm al-Hiran have Israeli passports and citizenship, yet the Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing, colonization, forcible displacement, and apartheid affect them all the same,” Maya al-Orzza, a legal researcher at NGO BADIL said Wednesday.
“These policies do not only happen in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also inside Israel against Palestinians,” al-Orzza said, noting that Palestinians make up some 20 percent of Israeli citizens.
Commenting on a peace conference held in Paris on Sunday which reaffirmed international commitment to the two-state solution and the cessation of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory, al-Orzza said that “by focusing on the one- or two-state discussion, or only on Israeli actions in the occupied territory, the international community is disregarding the ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing that Israel is implementing against Palestinian citizens of Israel.”
At the Atlantic Council — a “think” tank funded by such bastions of democracy as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, not to mention that center of peaceful nonviolence NATO — Samantha Power announced on Tuesday that Russia is a menacing danger to the United States of America and to the rule of law in the world, which statement in fact constituted a menacing danger to the U.S. and to the rule of law in the world.
Power cited the “Russian government’s aggressive and destabilizing actions.”
“For years, we have seen Russia take one aggressive and destabilizing action after another. We saw it in March 2014, not long after mass peaceful protests in Ukraine brought to power a government that favored closer ties with Europe, when Russia dispatched its soldiers to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The ‘little green men,’ as they came to be called, for Russia denied any ties to any of them, rammed through a referendum at the barrel of a gun, which Mr. Putin then used to justify his sham attempted annexation of Crimea.”
The “peaceful protests” involved hundreds of casualties, while the “ramming at the barrel of a gun” involved zero. The “peaceful protests” followed the preemptive exposure of U.S. facilitation of a coup. The new government quickly began threatening the rights and lives of ethnic Russians. The annexation of Crimea followed an overwhelming vote, which the United States has never dared to propose be re-done. The annexation was successful. Russia always had troops in Crimea. That it sent in more was to its discredit but legal under its basing agreement.
“We saw it months later in eastern Ukraine, where Russia armed, trained, and fought alongside separatists. Again Russia denied any role in the conflict it manufactured, again flouting the international obligation to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbor.”
Russia did not manufacture the conflict. It certainly did not in any major way “fight alongside” the “separatists” — many of whom were not seeking separation. It’s noteworthy that the claims about shooting down an airplane that were so central to this sort of speech for so long have faded away along with the idea that there was evidence to back them up.
“We saw it also in Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s brutal war in Syria – support it maintained even as the Assad regime blocked food and medicine from reaching civilians in opposition-held areas, civilians who were so desperate that they had resorted to eating leaves, even as photographs emerged of countless prisoners who had been tortured to death in Assad’s prisons, their bodies tagged with serial numbers, even as the Assad regime repeatedly used chemical weapons to kill its own people.”
Power has no evidence for her “chemical weapons to kill its own people” old stand by (and would it be OK to kill someone else’s people?), and that lack of evidence was critical to preventing major U.S. bombing in 2013, the year after the U.S. had rejected out of hand a 2012 Russian peace deal that would have included Assad stepping down. The U.S. preferred a violent overthrow and believed it to be imminent. Of course Assad and Russia and many other parties have committed horrible acts of war in Syria, just as has the United States.
“We saw it in 2015, when Russia went further by joining the assault on the Syrian people, deploying its own troops and planes in a campaign that hit hospitals, schools, and the brave Syrian first responders who were trying to dig innocent civilians out of the rubble. And with each transgression, not only were more innocent civilians killed, maimed, starved, and uprooted, but the rules that make all of our nations more secure – including Russia – those rules were eroded.”
All true . . . of Russia and of the United States.
Power claims Russia funds France’s National Front party and hacks German computers — and claims, despite limited evidence even of these actions, to know “Russia’s” motives. She claims Russia planned a U.S.-in-Ukraine-style coup in Montenegro, without noting that Montenegro funds the Atlantic Council.
Power then claims with absolutely no evidence that:
“the Russian government sought to interfere in our presidential election with the goals of undermining public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrating one candidate, and helping the other candidate. Our intelligence agencies assess that the campaign was ordered by President Putin and implemented by a combination of Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and government-paid trolls. We know that, in addition to hacking the Democratic National Committee and senior Democratic Party officials, Russia also hacked U.S. think tanks and lobbying groups. And we know that Russia hacked elements of multiple state and local electoral boards, although our intelligence community’s assessment is that Russia did not compromise vote tallies. But think for just a moment about what that means: Russia not only tried to influence our election but to access the very systems by which we vote.”
In fact we know none of these things, and the “very systems by which we vote” are, in most places, essentially worthless and totally unverifiable election machines.
“We must also forcefully reject the false equivalency between the work that the U.S. government and the Russian government are doing in other countries. There is a world of difference between supporting free and fair elections, and investing in independent institutions that advance human rights, accountability, and transparency, as we do; and, on the other hand, trying to sow distrust in democratic processes, misinform citizens, and swing elections toward illiberal parties, as Russia is doing.”
Here’s William Blum’s list of U.S. attempts to overthrow governments (asterisks where successful):
China 1949 to early 1960s
East Germany 1950s
Iran 1953 *
Guatemala 1954 *
Costa Rica mid-1950s
British Guiana 1953-64 *
Iraq 1963 *
North Vietnam 1945-73
Cambodia 1955-70 *
Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
Ecuador 1960-63 *
Congo 1960 *
Brazil 1962-64 *
Dominican Republic 1963 *
Cuba 1959 to present
Bolivia 1964 *
Indonesia 1965 *
Ghana 1966 *
Chile 1964-73 *
Greece 1967 *
Costa Rica 1970-71
Bolivia 1971 *
Australia 1973-75 *
Angola 1975, 1980s
Portugal 1974-76 *
Jamaica 1976-80 *
Chad 1981-82 *
Grenada 1983 *
South Yemen 1982-84
Fiji 1987 *
Nicaragua 1981-90 *
Panama 1989 *
Bulgaria 1990 *
Albania 1991 *
Afghanistan 1980s *
Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *
Haiti 2004 *
Somalia 2007 to present
Libya 2011 *
Ukraine 2014 *
Power then explains what her point is, what she wants done. She wants NATO funded and put on hair trigger alert. And she wants $1 billion in anti-Russian propaganda:
“That means maintaining our robust support for NATO and making clear our nation’s steadfast commitment to treat an attack on any NATO member as an attack on us all. . . . A report by the UK parliament found that the Russian government spent between $600 million and $1 billion a year on propaganda arms like RT. So we need to be spending at least as much – and arguably much more – on training and equipping independent reporters, protecting journalists who are under attack, and finding ways to get around the censors and firewalls that repressive governments use.”
The U.S. military’s advertising budget last year? $600 million.